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Topic: unplug

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May 6, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Need to recharge? Travel alone and unplug from social media

A couple of weeks ago, several family members became aware of my intention to travel alone.

“Why would you do that?” a cousin wondered aloud. “You’re going with someone else and hiding it from us, huh? Or do you want us to come with you?”

Because I can. No. And, please, no.

The whole point of my week-long solo vacation through the Olympic Peninsula, Victoria, BC and San Francisco was to escape the daily grind. To be away from all distractions and alone with my thoughts. I wanted to attempt to go beyond isolation and cut off contact with friends and family for a few days. Several years ago, this would have been a relatively simple task for me to pull off. Not anymore. Too much of my life and work now revolves around social media and the Internet.

As a March 7 Pew study finds, the vast majority of adults surveyed between the ages of 18 and 33 (aka the millennials) are “digital natives” and way more active on the Internet than older generations. The vast majority of respondents said they use Facebook. More than half have posted a “selfie” photo. Another way to look at it: an entire generation is accustomed to posting photos and updates everywhere and at any given time. Many are just now becoming weary of information overload. Have you looked around lately in public spaces? It appears most people are staring at their phones rather than making eye contact with the person next to them. Though our digital networks are growing, our human connections are stunted.

The inspiration for my self-imposed technology blackout was Internet guru and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, who explains the importance of “technology shabbats” in the first segment of her “The Future Starts Here” series for AOL. Watch Shlain make a strong case for building productivity with technology, but unplugging at least one day a week in the short video below:

Aside from booking nighttime accommodations, I had no real itinerary as I drove north on U.S. Highway 101. To ensure I couldn’t cheat or give in to my compulsive use of social media,


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